KAI PASIFIKA a celebration of Blue Pacific cuisine is underway right now at Peter Gordon’s acclaimed Homeland Food Embassy at Westhaven, Auckland.
The first two days have seen five chefs who have flown in from the Blue Pacific Continent, sharing their culinary creativity and familiarity with products from their homelands, they are;
- Leonid Vusilai (Vanuatu), winner of Pacific Island Food Revolution Season one, and owner of Island Kakae;
- Dora Rossi (Samoa), owner of Paddles Restaurant and Milani Café in Apia;
- Losavati Sewale (Fiji), executive chef at Raymond’s Restaurant and a trainer chef at Fiji Orchid Resort;
- Rangi Mitaera-Johnson (Cook Islands), consultant chef and trainer at the Rarotonga Cooking School; and
- Tuiohu Mafi (Tonga), Head Chef at Tanoa Hotel, caterer to the Tonga Royal Family and President of the Tonga Culinary Association.
This celebration of food and community is fostering cultural exchange through food creativity. Importantly too, it will encourage export opportunities for fine foodstuffs from the Pacific.
And also help revitalise post-Covid tourism to the Blue Pacific, through a New Zealand brand of ‘gastrodiplomacy.’
For example, many resorts and restaurants around Fiji have adopted ‘farm to fork’ and ‘dock to dine’ experiences, creating on-site vegetable and herb gardens, and employing local fisherman, for a more sustainable approach to hospitality.
Being an archipelago of 333 islands, importing produce to Fiji can be costly and take time, but with an abundance of lush landscape and year-round sunshine, hospitality outlets are now utilising what Fiji naturally offers.
Resorts are working to provide guests with healthier home-cooked options using as fresh as is it comes, local produce, allowing resorts to be self-sufficient while also supporting local communities and its beautiful landscapes and environment at the same time.
The first two days of KAI PASIFIKA have been remarkable for the sharing of culinary creativity between the Kiwi chefs, the food writers and the Blue Pacific Chefs, with ideas, techniques, tips - and indeed whole recipes – being freely shared.
Tuesday afternoon sees a trade show of the featured Pacific products being presented to New Zealand importers of fine foods for restaurant, delis and supermarkets.
The event is led by Pacific Trade Invest NZ (PTI NZ) in collaboration with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and Homeland – ‘the Food Embassy for Aotearoa and the Pacific.’
Glynis Miller, PTI New Zealand's Trade Commissioner says "We have worked on this project with Peter Gordon and his team at Homeland for a long, long time so it’s a relief to finally see it all coming together thanks to the support of the New Zealand Government.
"We wanted to promote the Pacific's unique products, tell the stories of its producers, and encourage all of our chefs to create a bond whereby they can teach and learn from each other back in their own countries. It would be fantastic to see a twining arrangement coming out of this – something our food writers in the media industry could themselves participate and share”.
MFAT’s Director for Pacific Connections, Felicity Bollen says, “We are proud to partner with PTI New Zealand and Homeland to deliver a programme that supports innovation and partnerships with the Pacific. As we set our sights on new horizons for economic recovery across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, KAI PASIFIKA speaks to our engagement principles of Tātou Tātou and Turou Hawaiiki, and enables us to continue navigating market uncertainties — while reimagining the future of tourism and trade — with our partners in the region.”
KAI PASIFIKA continues with;
Wednesday 5 October 6.30 – 10.00pm
KAI PASIFIKA Dinner: a sumptuous five-course dinner created by Peter Gordon and the Homeland kitchen, celebrating the flavours of the Pacific Islands. Guest will include Ministers, Pacific dignitaries and VIP guests. KAI PASIFIKA tasting dinner is sold out.
Thursday 6 October 5.30 – 8.30pm
KAI PASIFIKA Cooking Masterclass featuring Peter Gordon’s very own culinary prowess using Pacific Island ingredients to create speciality dishes. Also sold out.
ABOUT PACIFIC TRADE INVEST NZ
An agency of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and is funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
Supports the 16 Blue Pacific Forum countries: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.